29 April 2022

The Joke's on Me

It was stunning news from the U.S. chess federation: 'Announcing the World Premiere of "Fischer in Iceland," a Jazz Opera in 3 Acts'. The news was illustrated by the poster shown below.

The small print on the poster said,

[Top] 'Libretto by: Dr. Frank Brady based on his book Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall • Music by: National Master Alex King'

[Bottom] 'A jazz opera commissioned by the US Chess Federation premiering in St.Louis this fall!'

The post included capsule bios of both Dr. Brady and NM King. It ended with, 'The opera ain't over until Fischer mates Spassky!'.

The news included a not-so-subtle clue; the date was 'April 1, 2022'. Yes, the date was true, and, no, the news was not: APRIL FOOLS! Announcing the World Premiere of "Fischer in Iceland," a Jazz Opera in 3 Acts (uschess.org).

I'm only a little ashamed to admit that it fooled me. I wasn't going to mention the USchess joke, because April 1st was gradually slipping into the misty past, but an earlier post this week on my World Chess Championship Blog, It's Not an April Fool's Joke (April 2022), gave me a new opportunity.

I'm not usually a fan of April Fool chess jokes -- too many of them are stuff like 'FIDE abolishes draws!' -- but this year brought a good crop. Two worth mentioning are New chess table to ensure security (chessbase.com), and Hackers Leak Lichess Source Code (lichess.org; 'All our inner workings exposed!'). The Chessbase news included a list of previous April Fool's jokes -- Chessbase calls them 'pranks', which is probably the more accurate word.


On a related, more serious(?) topic, while working on this month's 'On the Cover' post, April 1972 & 1997 'On the Cover' (April 2022), I discovered another musical work inspired by Fischer. Page 227 of the April 1972 issue of 'Chess Life & Review' carried an ad:-

* An historic, seven minute, 33 1/3 record of Bobby's life and chess exploits with a preview of his match with Spassky.
* Sung and performed by Joe Glazer and his Fianchettoed Bishops.
* For single record send one dollar (plus 25 [cents] mailing charge)
* For two or more records send only one dollar per record. (We absorb Mailing costs.)

Make checks payable to —
Suite 209, 8422 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, Md. 20910

Have any copies of Bobby's Ballad survived?

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